Mushrooms are not the only wild ingredient you can use in your cooking. From something simple like raspberries to something more daring like black bear sausages, if you look around more carefully, you could find everything you need in your backyard.
And that’s exactly what these chefs and amateur cooks did for the second annual Local Wild Food Challenge.
Encouraging the participants to show off their skills and their local ingredients, Bill Manson, one of the judges and founder of the competition, said they evaluate the entries based on taste, ingredients, presentation and effort.
This year, Hal Ryerson of Détente Restaurant won the grand prize.
Mr. Ryerson prepared local bay scallops on a parsnip puree made with The Grey Barn and Farm’s cream and smoked sea salt with a Russian olive gastrique alongside a salad of arugula, Quitsa pond sea beans, and Tiasquin Orchard McIntosh apples. The dish also included dolmas made with wild grape leaves, stuffed with rice, homemade lemon confit, wild oregano, and locally made pancetta.
Rachel Rooney and her friend Kira Shepherd won the Best Use of Local Ingredients category for their dish: braised home-raised and slaughtered rooster in homemade, one-year-old wine made with wild beach plums, wild grape, and wild autumn olive with garden vegetables and homemade chicken stock. Their prize was a giant basket of produce from Morning Glory Farm and lunch for two at Right Fork Diner.
Other dishes included venison ravioli, wild mushroom bisque, black bear sausage – yes you read that right and no it obviously was not shot on the Vineyard – stinging nettle dumplings, and more.
Watch the video for Mr. Ryerson’s explanation of his dish.